5 Reasons to Keep Yourself Active in Winter

With cold weather, it’s hard to resist snuggling up indoors. Sometimes, we just want to eat more and do less. We may be more likely to have our workout clothes unworn and kept inside our closet. And it becomes easy to “hibernate” and watch netflix while the temperatures are dropping.

But we’re not bears to hibernate! We don’t need to stock up on body fats. Most of all, we don’t need to look like bears.

Exercising in the winter can be challenging. The winter chill brings the cold, sometimes the flu and the blues. But it’s actually during the winter that getting active becomes more important than ever, physically and mentally.

Here are the reasons why you should keep exercising in the winter:

1. Mood Booster

If you’re feeling down during the winter, you’re not alone. May it be winter blues or the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD) making you feel gloomy over the cold months, exercising will help release the feel-good chemicals to uplift your mood.

Walking or jogging when the sun has gone down may not sound appealing. But research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training are helpful in treating low moods or depression [1].

2. Free Daily Dose of Vitamin D

It isn’t called the sunshine vitamin for no reason. The good ol’ sunshine is the easiest source of vitamin D.

All you need to do is to get in the sunlight.

During summer months, just as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure is enough. But in winter, sunshine can be harder to come by, especially if you prefer to stay cosy indoors. That’s why you need to hit the sunshine more than ever.

And if you’re overweight, that’s another reason why you need to go outdoors and do some exercise with the sun. Study suggests that people who are overweight are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D [2].

3. Harder Workout

During winter, your body uses more energy to stay warm.

Additionally, studies found that running outdoors use more energy to cover the same distance compared to when running on a treadmill [3].

When you’re active outdoors, for instance, on the beach or up a mountain, you’re somewhere in a constantly changing environment. There will be some inclines, bumps, obstacles, or strong winds, which means your body has to work harder to sustain an efficient work rate. It takes more effort to adapt to a changing environment, thus the harder workout.

4. Stronger Heart

Cold weather makes the heart work harder. If you’re a regular exerciser with cardiovascular endurance, cold weather sessions can make your heart stronger. It will help you prepare your body for more strenuous activities in the future.

However, if you have heart disease, you should be cautious when exercising in the cold weather. A 16-year study in more than 280,000 patients has suggested that air temperature is an external trigger for heart attack [4].

5. Burn More Fat

According to the researchers in the Netherlands, simply being exposed to cold weather can increase caloric expenditure by up to five times. Just think of how much fat you’ll burn if you exercise. Low temperatures also speed up metabolism by stimulating brown fat cells. Experts even suggest that by staying indoors under controlled heat, people are putting themselves at higher risk of obesity [5].

But What If I’m Not Keen on Exercising Outdoors?

You’re not actually obligated to go outside especially if the skies are really grey and rain is falling. That may not be much fun at all. What’s important is that you’re keeping yourself active. You can just do Pilates at home or perhaps get a pair of dumbbells.

But if you’re keen on doing a Reformer Pilates class, you’re very much welcome to get in touch with us now! With winter being the most likely season where we succumb to colds and flu as well as gain more weight, Reformer Pilates can help to keep you stay warm inside and out and help you stay fit.

Ready to get started with Reformer Pilates? Call us today on 9272 7359!

 

References:

1. Craft LL, Perna FM. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2004;6(3):104-111.
2. Vanlint S. Vitamin D and Obesity. Nutrients. 2013;5(3):949-956. doi:10.3390/nu5030949.
3. Jones AM, Doust JH. A 1% treadmill grade most accurately reflects the energetic cost of outdoor running. J Sports Sci. 1996 Aug;14(4):321-7.
4. European Society of Cardiology. (2017, August 28). Air temperature is external trigger for heart attack. ScienceDaily.
5. Lichtenbelt, Wouter van Marken et al. Cold exposure–an approach to increasing energy expenditure in humans. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Apr;25(4):165-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Jan 22.